What Happens If the SSA Overpays You?


Quick Answer

Once the Social Security Administration becomes aware of an error in which it has overpaid you, it sends you a notice explaining the overpayment and requesting a refund within 30 days, according to the SSA. If you are currently receiving benefit payments, other methods may be used to collect the overpayment amount.

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Full Answer

If you cannot pay back the overpayment by 30 days and you are still receiving benefits, the original notice warns you that part of your benefits may be withheld up to 10 percent, and it informs you of date such withholding starts, reports the SSA. The notice of overpayment also fully delineates your appeal rights regarding any kind of refund procedures, including your rights to request a repayment waiver and to appeal a waiver decision after it is made. If you don't think you were overpaid, you can ask for an appeal of the overpayment decision within 10 days. If you make your appeal in a timely manner, the SSA does not take any deductions on current payments until after it has made a decision on the appeal.

An overpayment can occur due to a change in living situation or marital status, a change in medical condition, or an error in previous calculations, says the SSA. If the SSA denies your appeals to withholding procedures after an overpayment, you may ask the SSA to withhold less than the proposed amount.

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